Fall Quilt Market 2014 Wrap Up and Giveaway Winners

What excitement! What fun! What fabrics! Today I will share just a taste of the quilt market experience, the wholesale tradeshow for the quilting industry in Houston, TX. It consisted of a day of presentations, 3 days of shopping and a peak into the quilt show hosted by the International Quilting Association.

Market-SwagThis is just a fraction of the goodies I received at market – and they are all for you guys!

But first, I have picked 3, yes 3 winners for all of the market swag I picked up while I was there. Can we just say fabric, patterns and notions galore!! Congratulations to Jenny (aka krousegirl2), Cynthia B, and Cheri B!

Day 1 – Schoolhouse and Sample Spree

The first day was schoolhouse, where fabric designers, authors and other companies gave 10-30 minute presentations on their latest and greatest. I was able to sit in on several of the Martingale/That Patchwork Place author presentations (taking notes for when it’s my turn to shine at next year’s fall market.)

20141030_dana_schoolhouseDana Bolyard showing quilts from her new book Imagine Quilts. We got to hang out quite a bit and get to know each other better over the weekend – she’s super fun!

carolyn-friedlander-presentIt was a full house when Kaufman fabric designer Carolyn Friedlander entered the room. I had to snap this action shot of Modern Sewciety host Stephanie Kendron getting pictures of the action! And yes, Stephanie is just as fun in person as she is on her podcast!

Sample spree was that evening – a time when fabric companies let attendees buy precuts of all their goodies on a cash and carry basis. I was like a deer in the headlights that night and although I was there to witness the chaos, I opted out of buying anything. I figured I would just order it for the store later, anyway!

Day 2 – Shopping and Networking Galore

Jason ModaJason kept track of all the precut orders we placed with our fabric sales reps so that we would stay within our budget. That’s very important for these types of shows!

Quilt market was not only productive for ordering loads of precuts for our business, it was a great place to network with many of the big names in the industry. I spoke with designers, editors, marketing reps and fellow bloggers and made connections that will most likely lead to future work in the quilting industry, so that was exciting.

Heather-AlissaI had so many awesome conversations about modern quilting with movers and shakers in the industry like Heather Grant and Alissa Haight Carlton. They have big plans for the Modern Quilt Guild and I’m so excited to be a part of this wonderful organization!

That evening it was parties galore! Moda and Kaufman hosted customer appreciation parties complete with food and music, and the modern quilt guild presented a mixer so that fellow online friends could meet and chat in person. If you ever get a chance to attend a social media meetup, I highly recommend it. :-)

Day 3 – Checking Out the Quilts

Show Farm Fabric QuiltThe License Plate Quilt, part of the Farm to Fabric exhibit hosted by Clothworks to showcase their American Made Brand of solids.

We took a break from shopping on the 3rd day to check out the quilts from the International Quilt Festival. Be sure to check out my previous post about the Modern Quilt Guild Showcase. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many quilts under one roof!

Each year Interweave publishes a special edition magazine called “International Quilt Scene” showcasing highlights from the show and market. It was pretty surreal when I found out they decided to include my quilt “Spiraling Out of Control” as one of two quilts chosen to represent modern quilts at the festival.

Quilt Scene MagazineIt was pretty fun to see my quilt in the pages of International Quilt Scene magazine.

 Day 4 – More Shopping

We wrapped up our shopping on Monday, checking our lists and making sure we attended to all needed business. I can honestly say there’s nothing quite like seeing designer quilts made from designer fabrics that really get the creative juices flowing.

I will leave you with just a few of the beautiful booths that were on display. I have ordered precuts of all of these and they will be here before you know it. I can’t wait!

Booth Jen KingwellBeloved designer Jen Kingwell debuted her first line with Moda. It’s sure to be a hit!

Booth Kaufman 2You just can’t go wrong with Kona Cotton solids from Robert Kaufman!

Booth Pat SloanPat Sloan is definitely one of my favorite people in the industry. We got to chat for a bit at an industry mixer and I got to meet her hubby, too – aka “The Shipping Dept.”

Booth Zen ChicModa booth by Zen Chic – I love the modern vibe!

Booth Jennifer SampouJennifer Sampou with her latest collection Black and White for Robert Kaufman

tula pinkTula Pink‘s next line, Elizabeth is sure to be a hit. I love the throne!!

cotton-and-steelCotton and Steel debuted their second collection – and we ordered all the precuts!

It certainly was a great weekend, and I can’t wait to do it all again in 6 months!

Posted in Quilt Events | Tagged | 14 Comments

Christa’s Quilt Along – Abacus Week 6: Binding

I have really come to love hand binding my quilts. There’s nothing better than curling up on the sofa with some mindless TV and hand stitching for awhile. However, for those of you who prefer a quicker finish, be sure to check out my machine binding tutorial.

And now, it’s onto binding! It took me a total of 3 hours to bind Abacus.

TrimmingStep 1 – Trim the Quilt and Prepare the Binding (1/4 hr)

I use a large square ruler to square up the corners flush with the edge of the quilt. I use a longer ruler to trim up the sides. Be sure you have 1/4″ of background left around the edges of your beads so they don’t get covered up by the binding.

I love the look of a freshly trimmed quilt, ready to bind!

quilt-trimmedTo calculate the length of binding needed, take the perimeter and add 10 inches:

32+32+32+32+10 = 138

Divide this number by 40 to get the total number of binding strips needed. 138/40 = 3.45 which I will round up to 4 strips. Cut them 2 1/4″ wide.

Join your strips together by sewing mitered seams. Place them right sides together, perpendicular to each other with a little bit sticking off on both sides. You will be sewing a diagonal seam indicated by the black line below:

binding_1Note: if you are working with solids, take care to know which side you are working with! You can put a pin to indicate which is the front or back side of the strip.

Trim off one end at a 45 degree angle and press the binding, wrong sides together along the length. This is what it the binding strips should look like when trimmed and pressed:


Step 2 – Sew the Binding to the Front of the Quilt (1/2 hour)

Start with the trimmed end and stitch with a 1/4″ seam, leaving a tail of about 6″ dangling off the quilt. When you near a corner, make a crease indicating the edge of the quilt underneath. Stop sewing exactly 1/4″ away from the crease and sew off the end at an angle.

binding_3To fold the miter on each corner, lift the strip up and away, parallel to the quilt. Bring it back down upon itself, even with the edge of the quilt, creating some bulk. I call this the “funky fold.”

binding_4Continue sewing from the corner you just folded, all the way around the quilt, mitering each corner as you go.

When you get close to the end of the quilt, leave another tail of about 5″ – 6″.

Join the ends together by opening the beginning tail with the angled edge and placing it on top of the ending tail with the untrimmed edge. Draw a 45 degree line on the untrimmed end. I’ve drawn a black line on the photos below so you can see that more clearly. Cut 1/2″ away from the drawn line. Use a small ruler with a 45 degree angle for an accurate cut.


Pin the beginning and ending tails together and sew with a 1/4″ seam, offsetting the edges by 1/4″ (see that little triangle peeking out below). You may have to scrunch the quilt out of the way to make room. Finger press the seam open, fold the binding in half again, and finish sewing the binding to the front of the quilt.

binding_6Step 3 – Pin or Clip the Binding in Place to Sew (1/4 hour)

With an iron, press the binding away from the quilt on the front. This creates a crease making it easier to fold over the binding and sew in place by hand or machine.

binding_7Fold over the edges and hold in place with pins or clips. My favorite are the Clover Wonder Clips in packs of 100. I prefer to clip the whole thing in place so it’s ready to sew, and I place them pretty close together so I can quickly use up a whole bag of clips!


Don’t forget to fold the corners in place and secure with a clip. They will automatically create a nice pretty miter on the back – aim to line up the two corner edges so the miter is right in the middle of the corner.

Step 4 – Finish by Hand (2 Hours)

I forgot to take pictures while sewing the binding down by hand. I guess I was enjoying myself too much. Click here for another hand binding tutorial which basically outlines the steps above with hand stitching closeups.

Congratulations on a great finish!

Abacus-Finished-for-BlogBe sure to share your progress on Instagram #abacusqal or on my flickr group: Christa’s Quilt Along.

Email me your finishes (either the whole quilt or the top only) by November 10th and I’ll share them on my blog in a parade of finishes!

Click here for all of the Abacus Quilt Along Tutorials.




Posted in Christa's Quilts, Quilt Alongs | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Modern Quilt Guild Showcase at the International Quilt Festival

I was stoked when I found out that Quilt Market attendees could also see all the beautiful quilts on display for the International Quilt Festival which opens this weekend. I was able to take pictures of 32 quilts which were presented in the Modern Quilt Guild Showcase. I’m happy for you to save and share any of the images below – just be sure to credit me as the photographer along with the name of the quiltmaker. :-)

Modern Quilt Guild Showcase Special Exhibit

Modern Quilt Guild Showcase Special Exhibit

I’m sorry that some of the pictures have tape and poles in front of them, and the lighting wasn’t the best. But I hope you enjoy the show!

Amazonia by Nathalie Bearden

Amazonia by Nathalie Bearden

Anni Albers' Orange Chair Martha Peterson

Anni Albers’ Orange Chair by Martha Peterson

Avalon Sunrise by Colleen Wootton

Avalon Sunrise by Colleen Wootton

Back to Basics by Melissa Corry

Back to Basics by Melissa Corry

Blue Circle Quilt by Kim Eichler-Messmer

Blue Circle Quilt by Kim Eichler-Messmer

Boxed In by Elizabeth Dackson

Boxed In by Elizabeth Dackson

Broken Bars by Rebecca Roach

Broken Bars by Rebecca Roach

Citrus Wedge by Jennifer Carlton Bailly

Citrus Wedge by Jennifer Carlton Bailly

City Center by Angie Henderson

City Center by Angie Henderson

Colorado 4x4 by Stephanie Ruyle

Colorado 4×4 by Stephanie Ruyle

Cycles 2 by Leanne Chahley

Cycles 2 by Leanne Chahley

Didn't Get the Memo by Alissa Carlton

Didn’t Get the Memo by Alissa Carlton

Entropy by Elisa Albury

Entropy by Elisa Albury

Fade Into Gray by Stephanie Ruyle

Fade Into Gray by Stephanie Ruyle

Fissures by Debra Jeske

Fissures by Debra Jeske

Folded Flock by Jenna Brand

Folded Flock by Jenna Brand

Funky Junk by Renee Tallman

Funky Junk by Renee Tallman

Grand Canal by Casey York, Quilted by Ann McNew

Grand Canal by Casey York, Quilted by Ann McNew

Homage by Jacquie Gering

Homage by Jacquie Gering

Las Ventanas by Kristin Shields

Las Ventanas by Kristin Shields

Melon Ice by Amy Friend

Melon Ice by Amy Friend

Modern X by Christa Watson

Modern X by Christa Watson

Namaste by Cheryl Olson

Namaste by Cheryl Olson

Off Center by Charlotte Noll

Off Center by Charlotte Noll

Pick Up Sticks by Becky Goldsmith

Pick Up Sticks by Becky Goldsmith

Pixel Pusher II Caro Sheridan

Pixel Pusher II Caro Sheridan

Spiced Chai Quilt by Katie Blakesley

Spiced Chai Quilt by Katie Blakesley

Spiraling Out of Control by Christa Watson

Spiraling Out of Control by Christa Watson

Summer Break by Amy Anderson

Summer Break by Amy Anderson

Sunburst Quilt by Tara Faughnan

Sunburst Quilt by Tara Faughnan

The White Rainbow by Shruti Dandekar

The White Rainbow by Shruti Dandekar

Tune In Next Week by Chawne Kimber, Quilted by Pamela Cole

Tune In Next Week by Chawne Kimber, Quilted by Pamela Cole

Aren’t they beautiful?

I’ll do a complete quilt market wrap up this Thursday, including sharing the names of my market SWAG giveaway winners. I had enough loot to choose 3 people!!

Posted in Quilt Events | Tagged , , , | 54 Comments

Craftsy Giveaway – Finishing School: Edges and Bindings

As promised, it’s time for another Craftsy class giveaway – whoo hoo!! Since my quilt along tutorial on binding your quilt is coming up later this week, I thought it would be perfect timing to give away the Craftsy class Finishing School: Edges and Bindings with Mimi Dietrich. But first, let me tell you a little bit about this fabulous class.

20141027_finishing_schoolAlthough I pretty much bind my quilts the same way every time, Finishing School teaches you how to do several fun techniques such as prairie points, scallops, piping, ruffles, and more! There’s even a bonus section on the often overlooked finishing touches like adding sleeves and labels to your quilts.

The class is broken down into six easy to swallow lessons, each about 30-45 minutes:

  1. Using Backing as the Binding
  2. Making New Bindings from Scratch
  3. Adding Trims
  4. Rounded Corners and Scalloped Edges
  5. Prairie Points and Ruffles
  6. Sleeves and Labels

20141027_finishing_school_bindingsThere are lots of options for beautiful bindings!

Whenever I check out a Craftsy class, I always love reading the students’ comments and questions to learn more. Seeing what my fellow class-mates are making is super fun, too! Check out the cool coasters and trivets by craftsy member Pam in New Zealand. She was able to bind a project with more than 4 edges after taking this class! :-) (And her machine quilting is pretty awesome, too!!)

20141027_coastersCoaster and Trivet set by craftsy member Pam in NZ

Here’s how to enter:

Good luck and thanks for reading! This post was sponsored by my friends at Craftsy.

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Book Review – Urban and Amish by Myra Harder

Since I’m away at Quilt Market this weekend, I thought it would be fun to share a book review with you! This is a tiny taste of what it’s like to be at market: checking out the new books, meeting some of the authors, and getting inspired to come home and sew. :-)


Urban and Amish: Classic Quilts and Modern Updates is written by Myra Harder and published by Martingale/That Patchwork Place. (Yes, I’m a little bit biased towards Martingale since they are my publisher, too, so expect to see me sharing more of their awesome quilting books!)

All images are courtesy of Martingale. The beautiful photography is by Brent Kane.

The premise of the book is that the author starts with 8 traditional Amish designs and reinterprets them into a modern urban aesthetic, resulting in a total of 16 designs you will love to make. Here is just a sampling:

storm_at_seaOcean Waves, 71 1/2″ x 71 1/2″ – the Amish Version

modern_stormSouth Pacific, 88 1/2″ x 96 1/2″ – a Fresh Interpretation

In the two quilts above, I love how the block design is the same, yet the borders and choices of fabrics create a dramatically different result!

In the two quilts below, Myra has chosen to reinterpret one of the most traditional and beloved blocks into something a little more urban.

nine_patchAmish Nine Patch, 54 1/2″ x 65 1/2″

modern_9patchSouthern Comfort, 86″ x 107″

I think my favorite paring from the book is the classic trip around the world and a re-imagined trip to New York. The quilts are dramatically different, yet they share similar construction techniques.

trip_around_the_worldTrip Around the World, 60 1/2″ x 72 1/2″

new_yorkTrip to New York, 50 1/2″ x 71 1/2″

I think the possibilities with these quilts can go even further. I can just imagine making the “Amish” versions in print fabrics, and the “Urban” ones in more traditional colors. As with any Martingale book, Urban and Amish includes clear, concise directions with plenty of color diagrams to keep you organized.

Myra has even included a section about Amish vs. urban fabrics, plus snippets of inspiration for each quilt and a section on finishing in the back of the book. Urban and Amish runs a total of 80 pages and can be found on line from Amazon or Martingale, and hopefully at your favorite local quilt shop. Enjoy the eye candy!

Posted in Reviews | Tagged | 7 Comments

I’m Off to Market – and Ready for a Giveaway!

I’m headed off to the trade show, the International Quilt Market in Houston, Texas. Jason and I have a strategy for the show – he will be the planner, setting up appointments to meet with our vendors, organizing our budget for new precuts, and making sure we both eat and rest well.

amybutler_meIt’s fun to meet up with “Sew”-lebrities at Quilt Market!

I’ll get to do the “fun” stuff – rub shoulders with quilting celebrities, meet up with online friends, and attend presentations from some of the top designers in the industry. Jason told me he’s perfectly happy to stay out of the limelight while attending to business, so together we’ll make a great team!

I’m sure I’ll pick up a bunch of freebies while I’m there, so I thought for this week’s giveaway, I’ll offer up a mystery bag full of market SWAG!! Be sure to follow me on instagram @christaquilts starting on Friday for some sneak peeks!

20141020_market_pinTo enter, just leave a comment telling me what you would want to do if you attended market, or who’s new designer lines you’d love to see!

The giveaway will remain open through Monday, Oct. 27th at midnight Pacific Time. I’ll draw a winner’s name at random sometime Tuesday morning (after I’ve recovered from the trip) and will mention it on the blog later that day.

Have a happy quilting weekend!

Posted in Giveaways, Miscellaneous, Quilt Events | Tagged | 347 Comments

Christa’s Quilt Along – Abacus Week 5: Machine Quilting

Welcome to another installment of my Abacus Quilt Along! Today is when the magic happens. It’s time to machine quilt, which I think is the most fun part of the quilt making process. It took me only 1 3/4 hours to machine quilt – so fast and fun! :-)

I’ve written several blog posts about getting started with machine quilting, including many of my favorite tips and tricks. Click here to read them all!

machine-quiltingMachine quilting wavy lines with your walking foot is super simple and fun!

Step 1 – Practice Quilting on a Scrap (1/4 hour)

I always, always, try out my quilting idea before I quilt the whole quilt. More often than not, I’m disappointed if I skip this step. What I see in my head may not translate well in fabric, so it always helps to make a small practice piece. It can be as simple as two scraps of fabric with a small piece of batting. Or sometimes I will make up a complete block using the same fabrics and thread as in the quilt.

illustration_3_abacus_quiltingOne of the biggest unknowns when machine quilting is how the quilting thread will look on a wide range of fabrics. I’d rather try it out on a smaller piece to make sure I’m happy. I think the grey Aurifil 50 weight cotton thread and uneven lines of quilting look great on both the light and dark fabrics. So now I’m ready to move onto the real quilt.

Step 2 – Quilt the Anchor Lines, AKA Stitch Near the Ditch! (1/2 hour)

Whenever I begin quilting a piece, no matter how large or small, I always start by quilting a series of anchor lines across the surface of the quilt. This helps stabilize the quilt for more quilting later. For Abacus, I stitched my wavy anchor lines right next to each of the vertical seams, moving the quilt slightly from side to side, letting the lines wobble a bit.

If the quilt is well basted, it doesn’t matter where you start. I usually start quilting in the middle, and move to the right across the quilt, stitching each line from top to bottom. Then I rotate the quilt ninety degrees and finish the other half in the same way.

Anchor-QuiltingRight now it looks like a bit of a mess, but I know from my practice piece that once all the lines are filled in, it’s going to have some incredible texture.

Step 3 – Quilting the Wavy Lines (1 hour)

I quilted wavy lines using my built in even feed. That’s the same thing as using a walking foot. I increased the stitch length slightly and moved the quilt from side to side as the machine stitched, creating the waves.The feed dogs are up as normal and I’m wearing Machingers gloves to give me a better grip on the quilt.

machine_quilt_1Once the anchor lines are quilted, I filled in the spaces between the rows with more wavy lines. I quilted a few lines on the left, then a few lines on the right, all the while aiming for a very organic (messy) looking texture. I let the number of quilted lines vary per row, and used the width of my foot as a rough guideline for spacing.

For those of you who can adjust your presser foot pressure, I set mine all the way down to zero. This really helps eliminate tucks and puckers.

machine_quilting_abacusIn the picture above, I have quilted all the anchor lines and completely filled in the wavy lines on half of the quilt. I rotated the quilt, now I’m ready to finish quilting the other side!

Voila! Quilting finished! Next week I will show you how to square up the quilt and bind it.

abacus_quilting_finishedIf you are enjoying this quilt along, please share your progress on my flicker group or on Instagram #abacusqal.

Remember, I encourage you to work at your own pace. However, if you finish your quilt (or even just the top) by November 10th, I’ll be happy to feature it on my blog in my parade of quilts! :-)

Click here for all of the Abacus Quilt Along Tutorials.

Posted in Christa's Quilts, Quilt Alongs | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Christa’s Soap Box – Is Modern Quilting Just a Fad?

Is Modern Quilting a Passing Fad?

(No time for pics – words only today!)

I certainly hope not! Two recent instances have inspired me to explore this topic a little more, and to shout out an emphatic, “NO!”

(1) Recently I attended a local fabric trade show. I noticed one of the big distributors (a larger wholesale company that sells and distributes many different fabric brands to retailers such as myself) wasn’t carrying a certain newly created company’s fabrics with a modern flair (think horses and strong geometrics).

When I asked why not, they told me they had seen many fabric fads come and go and they weren’t hopping on that bandwagon any time soon. I was in shock. I was wondering where these people had been. Did they not see the huge spring market debut of this particular company? Did they not get online and hear the buzz and excitement surrounding this new company’s fresh ideas?

(2) I was recently emailing a friend and lamenting the fact that one of the larger quilt show venues I participated in this year is not including modern categories as much in their shows next year. At first I thought it was due to poor participation in that category this year. Upon further examination though, I found out the powers that be thought that modern quilts are just a passing fad. What the what?!

Tell that to the thousands of people that will be attending QuiltCon next year, and the thousands more who have created a vibrant online community that is not going away any time soon. Like I and thousands more are going to suddenly wake up one day and think, “Nah – I’m bored of these bold, geometric quilts. I think I’ll quit quilting.”

Seriously, what are these people drinking??

I totally get that the word “Modern” may be a little overused these days, and I acknowledge that the debate is still raging as to what may or not be considered a modern quilt. In fact, when I was doing some research on writing a book, I learned that some publishers feel that putting the word “Modern” in the title may alienate or split their target audience before they even open up the book to take a look. (Let’s save that discussion for another day.) So some of the hesitation to embrace modern quilting may stem from the fact that these large companies are looking to their bottom lines and are worried about the numbers.

However, I think the very same growing pains that the modern community is going through right now is exactly what happened in the art quilting community some 20+ years ago (um, yeah, I was there!) Although I’m not an art quilter, I certainly can appreciate the vibrancy of the art quilt community, the empassioned quiltmakers that are a part of that community, and the hugely profitable segment of the quilting market it has become.

Don’t these people learn from (quilt) history?

Posted in Soapbox | Tagged | 41 Comments

Craftsy Class Winner

Congratulations to Sue A. who won the Craftsy Class, “Creative Quilting With Your Walking Foot” by Jacquie Gering. Thanks to all of you who participated! My friends at Craftsy told me that 407 of you entered so that’s quite impressive. Sue – they will be in touch with you shortly with the free link to claim your class.


If you are new to my blog, be sure to check out my review of Jacquie’s class here. And for those of you who have yet to check out what Craftsy has to offer, my recommendation would be to try a free mini class and see what all the excitement is about. :-)

Have a happy quilting weekend!

Posted in Giveaways | Tagged | 3 Comments

Fabric Friday – New Tonga Treats

I’ve always had a thing for batiks. And even though there is currently some debate, or shall we say “thoughts” in modern circles about the use of batiks in modern quilts, I certainly love them! (They are some of Jasons’ favorites, too, and he keeps pushing me to use them more!)

This week we just received a treasure trove of new Tonga Treats from Timeless Treasures: precut batik fat quarters, charms, strips, squares, and six-packs! Take a look:

20141017_hawaiiThe Hawaii colorway features the popular combination of aqua and red, with a pop of peach, cream, teal and light blue for sparkle. I especially like the geometrics – they remind me of free-motion quilting designs!

20141017_cabanaCabana reminds me of the beach with surf and sand colors of blue, green and warm tan!

20141017_reefReef includes gorgeous tones of purple and blue. Hmm, do you see a theme here? I think whoever named these groups wanted to get away for a little vacation, don’t you think?

Click here to see all of the luscious Tonga Treats!

Posted in Fabric | Tagged , | 8 Comments